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Hollingsworth sets record but England are beaten by Sri Lanka

3rd December 2014

Report by the England & Wales Cricket Board

England fell to a 90-run defeat in a keenly-fought encounter against Sri Lanka at the Blind Cricket World Cup in South Africa.

After being set 392 to win, England made a good start with Matt Page and Luke Sugg each hitting centuries at the top of the order. However, with the required rate climbing ever higher, the England lower order was left with too much to do and they eventually fell to a defeat that leaves Thursday’s game against Australia as a shoot-out for a semi-final spot.

Play had initially been held back at the start of the day to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities with a ceremony, but once it began it was England who won the toss and chose to bowl.

There were several changes to the side that beat Bangladesh by 154 runs yesterday in a friendly, with Matt Dean back as captain and Justin Hollingsworth, Si Ledwith, Ed Hossell, Amit Amin and Peter Blueitt also returning to the line-up.

Despite England suffering a 90-run defeat, Matt Page was able to celebrate another century after scoring 102 on his 24th birthday

Hollingsworth was the star man for England, recording the best figures by an England bowler in 40-over cricket with 4-54 as they fought back to restrict Sri Lanka, despite a century from W Chandana Deshpiya Wanniarachciige, to 391 for eight.

Page hit 102, his second century in as many days for England, and his opening partner Sugg made 130 but no-one else could pass 12 as they collapsed to 301 all out. 

The result means that England and Australia are tied on three points apiece, meaning tomorrow's clash is crucial in their World Cup bid.

Reflecting on today's game, Head Coach Ross Hunter told ecb.co.uk: “A tough day again when you play the sub-continent teams, but a fantastic effort by all the boys again. Them scoring 391 meant that we were probably below par with the ball for 10 or 15 overs.

“But to still be in the game with 10 overs to go after a huge opening partnership from Luke Sugg and Matt Page is an incredibly proud place to be. We really nearly pulled off something very special to chase down 391.

“If we reflect on the last three games: India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. If we look at the numbers, they have about 12-13,000 people playing in their country. We have about 350 people so we’re really proud of the achievements and efforts that we’ve put in so far.”

Hollingsworth, at 17 the youngest squad member, said: “It’s bitter-sweet. Losing was a bit hard to come by. It was good at half-time because I knew I’d got the record. Luke Sugg’s got our stats and told me I’d took it off him.”

On the challenge of Australia tomorrow, he added: “I think we have a great chance. I think the Aussies are a bit scared of us. They’ve been resting a couple of their main players in the last couple of days because they know they’re going to lose them. They’re not trying to win the World Cup.”

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Aditional note: If England win, the match ends in a tie or is rained off England will progress to the semi-finals due to a superior run rate. If Australia win they will go through.